The Q&A Archives: how often should I water my raised vegetable garden?

Question: I have roma tomatoes, red bell peppers, walla walla sweet onions, jalapeno peppers, and chili peppers growing in my 8x10x6 raised garden. The area is in the sun all day ( at least 6-8 hours). How often per week should I be watering it? I also have a seperated area of the raised garden with red rasberries and strawberries its about 4x4x6. How often should I water those as well?

Answer: The answer to your question really depends upon the weather. But, here are a few ideas for using water wisely:

When you use water, try to concentrate it in the plants' root zone. The less water you apply between the rows where roots can't use it, the less water you lose to evaporation. In addition, water from a sprinkler won't all reach the soil surface because of evaporation--a loss of up to 25%. Several techniques will help place the water in the root zone where it's needed:

For crops like squashes and cucumbers that are grown in a group, bury a juice or coffee can with the bottom at root level. Punch holes in the bottom of the can, so the water you pour in it will reach the roots with a minimum of loss.
You can irrigate individual plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in the same manner, using a slightly smaller can. Punch the holes in the can only on the side next to the plant.

A "trickle" or "drip" irrigation system permits water to ooze from a continuous soaker, or it emits water at a given location. You can buy kits with various components to supply water in this fashion at garden stores. Canvas soakers, or inverted sprinkler hoses near the plants, perform the same function. (These types of delivery can save you many gallons of water.)

If you use a sprinkler system, minimize water losses by:

using a sprinkler that will cover the garden only, not the surround ing area;
watering early in the morning when air is cool, wind is low, and water pressure is better on municipal systems; or
using a rate of application that permits all water to soak in and not run off the garden area.

When watering, yoru goal is to soak the soil. When you water, thoroughly soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and do it less frequently. Depending on stage of growth and temperatures, a 5- to 7-day interval may be enough.

Hope this information is helpful!

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